Near the end of the novel, The Pirates of the Levant by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Captain Alatriste finds himself the highest ranking survivor of one of three ships that are battling for their lives against the Turks, who out-gun, out-cannon, and just sheer out number the Spaniards. There is a hasty meeting of the remaining "commanders" from the three ships, to determine whether they should surrender, or fight to an honorable death. One of the comanders is an aristocrat, and he wants surrender -- mostly because he knows he will be well treated and held for a high ransom. The rest -- will be slaughtered or suffer life as a galley slave, chained to an oarlock. But the decision must be unanimous in order for all three to equally maintain their honor. Captain Alatriste, knows full well the horrors that would await them if they surrender, and makes the only decision a seasoned soldier could make: fight to the end and die with honor. For the aristocrat, such a display of fortitude is new. So we get this brief, sardonic moment:
"He was from the same caste of Spanish aristocrats, although this highly inelegant situation had tempered his arrogance--it's always best to talk to noblemen, Alatriste thought, when they've just been punched in the face..."